In a recent episode of the podcast, I spoke about the idea of “Running & Gunning” – playing a combat-orientated roleplaying game built around a sequence of combat scenes. Over the past couple of days, I have been reading “Wrath & Glory” published by Cubicle 7 and feel like it might be a match for just this kind of game.
Running & Gunning
I’ve been thinking about Running and Gunning – that is, running RPG games based around the idea of short combat-focused missions that play in under 2 hours, as an interesting and exciting way to get a session with friends. I’ve been thinking about it because one of the two axis’s in the type of game I want to play is “easy access” – the idea that you can get a player involved in a very short period of time.
Running and Gunning is about fast-paced, man-to-man scale skirmish scenarios with a defined goal. There is a Referee who runs the scenario and the players get involved either as opposing factions or as co-operative teams against a third party set of NPCs. It’s also about guns and high-octane action.
Gaming is varied and offers many different experiences. This experience is about the tactical combat situation and knocking about with tabletop miniatures or, in these more digital days, online battle maps and tokens.
It’s an approach that pushes the ‘challenge’ and ‘tactile’ engagements pretty hard while also leaving plenty of room for ‘expression’ in-character, emergent ‘narratives’ have plenty of room arising from high-stakes combat scenes, plus ‘discovery’ and ‘fantasy’ in exploring the missions on offer in the game world. As with all RPGs, a big appeal is also the ‘fellowship’ between players.
The trick is in stringing together a mini-campaign from a simple series of fights. In wargaming circles, this is the kind of thing that has been going on for decades.
Back in 1994, I began working for premier tabletop wargames company, Games Workshop. I started out as a sales assistant, quickly graduated to being a store manager, and eventually ended up working at the Nottingham HQ as part of the marketing team. It is, in fact, the reason we moved to Nottingham, way back in 1998.
Some of the most cherished memories I have from that period was being able to work alongside storied game designers such as Jervis, Rick Priestley, Gav Thorpe, Andy Chambers, and Alessio Cavatore. Around the turn of the century, while I was working on Games Day in the U.K., I was lucky enough to be invited to get involved in playtesting several projects. One of those projects was Inquisitor.
Inquisitor was a tabletop skirmish game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and played using 54mm miniatures on an open, non-gridded model terrain battlefield. It was heavily mission-based and focused on players creating and running a single heroic character.
Inquisitor was about as close as I ever got to the border between wargaming and roleplaying game. When it came out, I treated it more like an RPG than many. It turned out that running and gunning with Inquisitor was a great doorway to the wider realm of RPGs too.
Wrath & Glory
In 2020, Cubicle 7 published “Wrath & Glory” – the latest in a range of Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games. I basically ignored it because I haven’t played anything GW for about 15 years. That changed two days ago when a listener to the show called in about the “Running & Gunning” episode… and mentioned this game to me.
I got curious. Learning it was a d6-based game (instead of d100, as was the case before), I got even more curious. Could this be the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game for me? I bought a copy. Reading it, I have been finding myself enjoying it more and more.
And then it struck me.
I loved Inquisitor back in the day but, at heart, I am a roleplayer. “Wrath & Glory” is a very playable set of rules but also opens the way to the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe that I used to enjoy. Ever the skirmish wargamer – fan of the original Rogue Trader and populariser of Tim Eagling‘s “40K In 40 Minutes” back in the day – I knew that I would enjoy some 40K action.
Could you play “Wrath & Glory” in the running and gunning style? Fast-paced, man-to-man scale skirmish scenarios with a defined goal? A Referee runs the scenario and the players get involved either as opposing factions or as co-operative teams against a third party set of NPCs? It’s all about guns and high-octane action? Yeah, I think 40K with its eternal war against the xenos could do that.
And so it begins. I am plotting something. I feel like we could kick the tyres of this game and see what we can create.